Abnormal lipid composition of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid obtained from individuals with AIDS-related lung disease.

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Surfactant lipids are not only important to the physiologic function of the lungs, but may also influence disease processes like Pneumocystis pneumonia, in which the interaction of host-defense cells with pathogen occurs within the confines of the surfactant-rich alveolar hypophase. In the present studies the lipid profile of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) was characterized in subjects with AIDS-related lung diseases including Pneumocystis pneumonia. BALF lipid and total protein measurements were made in 43 subjects with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)-related lung disease and compared with those made in 50 normal human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-seronegative controls. The AIDS patient samples contained significantly greater amounts of total cholesterol, phosphatidylglycerol (PG), and protein than the control samples; in contrast to previous observations in rodent P. carinii infection, no differences were seen in total phospholipid (PL) or phosphatidylcholine (PC) in the two groups. The proportions of several of these lipids were deranged in BALF obtained from the patient group: PG/PL and PC/cholesterol differed significantly from normal samples. In the subset of patients with AIDS-related Pneumocystis pneumonia, no correlation was apparent between discrete BALF lipids and clinical indices reflective of disease severity. Using these measurements to approximate the lipid composition of the alveolar microenvironment in AIDS-related lung disease, we performed experiments in which normal human alveolar macrophages were exposed to exogenous liposomal lipids and then challenged with P. carinii. The ingestion but not binding of P. carinii by macrophages was diminished as a result of lipid exposure.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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